Dedicate a message to a loved one with a Tree of Life leaf

We understand how special Sherwood Forest and Budby South Forest are to so many people.

Generations of family members have spent time here, enjoying the wildlife, the changing seasons, the sense of peace and tranquillity and, of course, the legends of Robin Hood.

Whether you come to explore the woodland, to birdwatch or just be with family, there will be great memories that you take with you from every visit.

Family investigating under a log

We often hear grandparents tell their grandchildren what visiting Sherwood was like for them in their younger days, and their own first encounter with the Major Oak.

We know too that time spent here with those who are no longer with us brings back treasured memories for so many.

We now have a wonderful way to encapsulate those memories with a message to a loved one on our new Tree of Life.

We are creating an oak tree made of copper and brass leaves, which can be etched with a message, dedication or tribute.

Each leaf will remain part of the tree for up to five years – or even longer if supporters choose to.

And each dedication supports the work that we do here.

A man and woman walking on a trail in the woods

What do we do here?

We are protecting around 1,000 acres of ancient wood pasture and heathland to create habitats for a wide range of species of birds, mammals and invertebrates.

Sherwood Forest and Budby South Forest are highly designated and under legal protections to preserve their ecological value.

Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), form part of the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Sherwood is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Sherwood Forest is home to hundreds of ancient oak trees, dating back at least 500 years. They include the iconic Major Oak, estimated to be over 1,000 years old. In 2022, it was named among the trees to form the Queen’s Green Canopy, to mark Her Late Majesty’s 70th Jubilee.

 

The Major Oak (Picture by Lucy Hodson)

Our oaks are one of Europe’s largest and finest collections of ancients. Each year, this landscape ensures we enjoy the presence of a range of bird species here, including redstarts, tree pipits, marsh tits and woodcock.

Our staff and volunteers are working hard each day to restore the area to wood pasture, as it would have been in centuries gone by, using techniques like cattle grazing and scrub clearance.

As well as providing the habitats, we carry out surveys to assess the health of our populations of species including the lesser spotted woodpecker, nightjar and woodlark, bats and invertebrates.

 

Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major, adult male perched on log

In fact, each of our ancient oaks is a nature reserve in its own right, home to many species of saproxylic invertebrates, who spend at least part of their life cycle living in the decaying wood of ancient oak cavity.

Our work is already paying off. In the last ten years, the number of ancient oaks which have been placed in the top health class following independent surveys has increased from fewer than 100 to over 300.

New species of spider to the area have been identified and others not seen for many years have returned.

And, of course, there is Robin Hood. His legend attracts visitors from right around the world and we tell his story through our events, many of which are led by our community of around 100 volunteers.

We also organise and host the Robin Hood Festival, celebrating a cultural icon who is a recurring and popular figure in British folklore and social history.

Friar Tuck, Robin Hood, Maid Marian in Sherwood Forest

Why your support is needed

Aside from a £5 parking charge, Sherwood and Budby are free for anyone to visit at any time, and our visitor facilities are open 364 days a year.

We want to keep the reserve a place for all to access easily to enjoy the beauty of its landscape.

But managing an area of this size, protecting its natural heritage and creating vital habitats for wildlife, always needs resources, such as equipment to carry out restoration work and maintenance.

RSPB members are already helping to make a difference through their subscriptions, and every visitor who makes a purchase in our cafe or shop is contributing vital revenue too.

We know how important Sherwood and Budby are to so many visitors, and the Tree of Life offers the chance to show that affection for this special place and support our work at the same time.

 

Purchasing a leaf for the Tree of Life

The tree will be positioned in the Visitor Centre amphitheatre, to be seen and read by thousands of visitors each week.

Three sizes of leaf are available:

  • Small (copper only): 90mm x 55mm
  • Medium (only available in brass): 95mm x 65mm
  • Large (only available in brass): 145mm x 100mm

Small leaves can fit a message of up to 60 characters and medium leaves can include messages of up to 80 characters, including spaces. Large leaves can include 140 characters. All engraved text will be supplied in white font.

For the full details and prices, download the form using the link below.

Sherwood Tree of Life form

If you would like more information, please email sherwoodforest@rspb.org.uk or call the RSPB Legacy Team on 01767 693276.